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I didn’t want to move to a new place. All of my toys were in boxes and we didn’t have any T.V. Mom told me to play outside but she was always busy and Dad was at work. There weren’t any kids around there anyway. Mom told me to explore the house, but I didn’t like to. The house was empty except for boxes. The basement was dark and the attic was dark too and I didn’t like the funny smell in there either. The old people left some treasures in the house and those were fun. I found some shiny spikes that Mom called Jacks. She said they were for a game but I need a ball to play it. I couldn’t find a ball but the Jacks were fun to spin like tops. I found an old Teddy in the attic too when I went up there with Dad. It’s missing an eye and it has a big smile. I didn’t tell Dad about it because he doesn’t like dirty toys. He threw away Blanket after it was old. He never told me that, but I know he did.
The forest was fun to play in but Mom said not to go too far. I found a little house that looked like Dad’s old shed. It had leaves and stuff growing all over it and it looked all broken and really old. There was a little window with bars on it and I didn’t like it. I stayed away from the house because I didn’t think there was treasure in there. Sometimes I threw rocks at the house. I thought I might break it, but it was still pretty strong. I found frogs in the forest. They were hard to catch. I also saw other kids in the woods, but they all hid behind the trees and watched me. They didn’t say anything and I didn’t like them watching me. They got closer and closer if I stayed too long in the forest.
At night I heard noises. They made me very scared. I had to hide Teddy from Dad and Mom so I kept him under the bed, but when the noises got louder I would hold him tight and he would make me feel better. The noises got real bad when it was really late. It was the kids in the forest crying. They got louder when they were closer to the house. I never told Dad or Mom about them because grownups always think I’m dreaming when I’m not. I felt safe with Teddy anyway, so I didn’t need to sleep in their room.
I started to hear their voices one night. They were whispering real quiet outside, but I could hear them whispering. They were outside under my window and they were looking up into my room. In the night they glowed pale green like my star stickers, but brighter. I didn’t like to look at them. They had holes instead of eyes. When they got louder, I held Teddy closer. They went away in the morning.
One night I heard Teddy talking. He had a soft voice. I was crying because the whispers were getting louder. He told me it was going to be alright. He promised to keep me safe. In the morning when the children went back to hide in the forest, I talked to Teddy.
“Are you a good guy?” I asked Teddy. I made sure Dad and Mom were busy so they wouldn’t find us.
“I am a friend to children, little one. I am their guardian in the night from the wickedness of the Bright Eyes. I have protected many children from those creatures and I will protect you too.”
“Who are they?” I asked Teddy.
“They want to take you away little one. They want to hurt you. I am old and I am weak, but I can protect you for a while longer. I appear to children who need me. Those things aren’t children, they hide what they really are inside the skin of children. I have fought them for such a long time, but they grow strong as I grow weak.”
Every night Teddy would stay with me. The Bright Eyes came closer and closer though. They would float up to the window and stare inside. They whispered their noises to me and Teddy told me to shut my ears with my hands while he kept them from coming inside. He told me that he was getting weaker and that was why the child-monsters tried to get me. One night they got into the house. They came up the stairs and started scraping my door. We had to sit against the door to keep them from coming in. Their whispers were loud enough that I could hear them. They kept saying,
“Come and play, come and play. Come, come, come.”
Teddy watched over me while I was sleeping. In the morning Mom found me sleeping on the ground. She asked what was wrong, but I was afraid she would take Teddy away, so I couldn’t tell.
Teddy told me in the morning that he was too weak to protect me for much longer. He said that there was only one way to keep the Bright Eyes from hurting us.
“There is a key in the basement. We need that key to keep us safe. I cannot go with you. They are strong in that darkness. They will sense me if I go down there and they would take me from you. But they will not see you. They are asleep while the morning sun is up. I need you to go down and get the key.”
“I don’t want to go down there, Teddy.” I told him, hugging him. “What if they try to hurt me?”
“I’m sorry little one, but without that key, neither one of us will be safe for much longer. You can get the key, I cannot.”
“How will I find it?” I asked him.
“They will be guarding it. They know that with it, we can be safe from them. One of them will be holding it. You must take it without waking them. I will wait here for you.”
I didn’t want to go down there, but I couldn’t let them take Teddy away. I was scared, but I went down the stairs quietly. Teddy waited at the top watching me. He was quiet too so he wouldn’t wake them up.
I found them in the corner of the basement, hiding behind a lot of boxes. They were glowing in the dark and they were curled up together. They shook like they were cold and they sounded like they were crying. I was afraid. They didn’t see me. Their eyes were closed like Teddy said. One of them was holding a string tied to the key. I sneaked after them, hiding behind boxes. I wanted to cry without Teddy there with me. I got closer to them. I held my breath tight and was very quiet.
I got very close and I reached out for the key when the one holding it opened its eyes. It looked at me. Its eyes were empty. I screamed, but I grabbed onto the key and turned around, pulling it away until the string broke. They all got up and started coming after me yelling:
They chased me. I tripped on the stairs and I heard them sliding up behind me like snakes. I got back up and ran up the stairs as fast as I could while they tried to grab my legs. I got upstairs before them and closed the door. I heard them on the other side. They were still yelling and hitting the door. I held the key tight. I looked down at it. It was black and plain like an old-fashion kind. I didn’t like how it looked. Then I noticed that Teddy was gone. I called for him, but he didn’t answer. I didn’t know where he went, he said he would wait but he was gone. I started crying.
Dad found me when the Bright Eyes stopped making noises. He asked me what was wrong and why I yelled. I couldn’t tell. I hid the key so he wouldn’t find it. I knew that Teddy had to hide too. That was why he wasn’t there. Dad was very angry. He told me not to yell except if it was an emergency. He told me that he found my Teddy and that he took it and threw it away. I cried and told him I needed Teddy, but he didn’t listen. He said he would get me a new one, but I didn’t want a new Teddy. I was afraid without him and Dad wouldn’t listen!
I hid from Mom and Dad all day. They didn’t know but they couldn’t help me. But Teddy came back at night time when I was in bed. I saw the door open and I was afraid it was the Bright Eyes, but I saw that it was him.
“Teddy! You came back!”
“Yes, little one. I will never leave you. Your Father tried to take me away. He is being controlled by the Bright Eyes, but I was still strong enough to escape their power. We don’t have much time. Did you get the key?”
“Yes,” I said. I got out of bed and showed him the key.
“You are very brave little one, but you must be brave one more time. This time, I will not leave you. We must go into the forest. There is a place there where they cannot go.”
“But I’m not allowed outside at night. If Mom and Dad find out, they might not let us be together anymore.” I said this, but I felt bad because I was scared of going in the forest.
“After tonight, you will be safe, but we must go now before it’s too late.”
I heard the Bright Eyes crying in the basement. They were hitting the door again.
“Please, little one. This is our only chance.”
“You’ll be with me the whole time?”
“Yes, little one. I will stay with you until you are safe.”
We sneaked out of the room. I held Teddy and the key tight. We went downstairs and had to go past the door to the basement before we could get outside. I saw the green light through the cracks and I ran. I heard the door open behind us when I got outside and I saw the Bright eyes push their way out, crying and yelling.
“No! Stop! Come and play!”
I ran into the forest. It was very cold. Teddy told me where to go. It was very dark and I tripped a lot. The Bright Eyes kept coming, flying after us. I ran further and further and I fell down and scraped my knee. I dropped Teddy. Teddy ran into the forest.
“Wait Teddy! Don’t leave me alone!” I yelled.
“This way little one! Follow my voice!”
I stood up and held the key. I ran after Teddy. He kept telling me where he was and I ran after him. I kept crying. The Bright Eyes were so close behind, still making horrible sounds.
“In here.” Teddy said. I stopped and saw that he was standing in the old forest house. The door was open. It looked much smaller in the dark.
“I can protect you in here. You will be safe from the Bright Eyes, little one.”
I looked at Teddy, with his wide grin. I smiled back, but I was scared. It was a very dark room.
“Do we have to go in there?”
Teddy looked sad. I felt bad for being scared.
“If you don’t hurry, they will find you, they will take you away. They will hurt you. I want to protect you, little one. You must come in here and shut the door. They can’t come in here when I’m here to protect you.”
I turned around. The bright children with crooked faces were floating after us. Dark stuff dripped from their empty eyes. They were flying forward with outstretched hands yelling:
“No! Come! Come! Come and play!”
I ran into the house and shut the door.
“Quickly now! Lock it with the key before they can get in!”
I stood on tiptoes to reach the lock and put the key in. I turned it as fast as I could. Right when I stopped, the children started hitting the door very hard, yelling at me. I dropped the key on the ground.
“No! Come and play!”
I ran away from the door to the corner of the room. I tripped and fell down onto a pile of hard, lumpy things. I turned around and saw Teddy walk up to the door. He bent over and picked up the key.
“Teddy, what’s all this stuff on the ground?” I asked him. I was afraid because he wasn’t saying.
The Bright Eyes were hitting the door, but it was locked and they couldn’t get in, just like Teddy said. He walked toward me. I heard something rip and his button eye fell off and rolled on the ground. The fur on his face began to rip and two glowing red holes appeared. They got real wide and bright and lit up his face. He smiled real big and his mouth began to rip open too. He made a sound like Granpa used to make when he was sick.
I cried. I ran away from Teddy and started to hit the door with my fists. It was locked up tight. Teddy’s eyes got really bright and lit up the room like a night light. Two long cracking arms with knifes instead of hands came out of his mouth and began to scrape against the floor, pulling Teddy toward me. I crawled back to the corner. I fell on one of the lumpy things underneath me and hurt my hand. They were white and hard and had scratches all over them. There were lots and lots of them all over.
“What are you doing Teddy? Please stop! You’re frightening me!” I cried as he came closer.
The children were yelling to me from the darkness. They reached in through the bars of the window. I finally knew what they saying. They weren’t saying, “Come and play,” they were saying, “Run away.”
Credited to Marcus Arias